ExADUS intercut dramatisations of extracts from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein with moments from and interpretations of Shelley’s own life, and the experiences that drove her to write this most successful of Gothic novels.The staging of this piece is simple, but often effective; boats and graveyards, for example, are admirably conjured with only boxes and cloths. The costumes are appropriate and do not distract, all except for Mary Shelley herself, whose inexplicably green face is constantly off-putting. The torch-lighting, a popular trick for festival performers, is not always successful; perhaps a stronger torch would be a good investment?Some of the acting is effective in establishing an atmosphere, particularly Byron and the old man to whom the Creature turns for protection, while the Creature himself, an impressive piece of makeup, delivers his lines with conviction and feeling, creating some effective and engaging scenes. Unfortunately this does not hold true for the cast in general; there is some seriously weak acting, and while Mary Shelley’s delivery is dramatic, it is similarly portentous throughout, varying not at all in tone or pace, even when dealing with the death of her child, which makes her interjections rather wearying.She also suffers from being an appendix, a superfluous organ in the body of the show; her commentary is often little more than bland literary criticism of the psychological kind, detailing in rather heavy terms the effects of her own life and society on her writings. This is simply too baldly spelt-out to qualify as drama, or to merit the ghoulish terms in which it is read. While it is nice to see Shelley interacting with a mute Frankenstein as the mistress of a literary creation with no life beyond her, a clever and well-handled mirror of the Monster’s creation, one feels that the company would be better off simply doing the book, and not bothering with the English essay.

The Blurb

ExADUS presents a dramatisation based on Shelley's own anxieties of motherhood. The inability to give life led to the conception of a ghostly tale of 'the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together'.